10 Books That Made Me A Better Leader
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today I’m sharing 10 books that have changed my life. These books have made me a better marketer, leader and success coach.
1. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
Optimistic people make their own luck. Depressive people dig deeper holes for themselves. If you want to get ahead in your career and your personal relationships, you must discard negative thinking. If you tend to always see your glass as half empty, you need this book.
Do you feel like a negative emotion is controlling your behavior? Things like fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, lack of confidence? Those emotions are like coins; they all have a positive, flip side that’s right there next to the negative emotion. You can learn to turn these negative emotions into positives. Let Norman Vincent Peale teach you how.
I had a rough childhood. Emotionally stressful, not physically. I remember losing my dreams when I was a pre-teen. I stopped believing in people, the church, ideals, the government. I was sinking fast into depression. When I was in my early twenties I grabbed onto this book like a drowning man grasps a life raft. It may seem a little corny, a little old-fashioned now, but Peale hits the bulls eye with every chapter. I think he saved my life.
2. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, MD
“Life is difficult.” This is a book I found as an undergrad that turned me around and put me on a better path. I didn’t learn this stuff growing up. I needed to hear this kind of honesty. I was well educated in hypocrisy, greed, and the multitude of ways human beings could lose control of themselves. Dr. Peck was like the functional parent I always wanted.
The ways Dr. Peck advises we confront our problems in order to move beyond them in our personal life can be perfectly applied to your career challenges.
3. Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker
Okay, I better talk “business” books. When I read this I was already the director of marketing for an association. I thought I knew a little, but this book opened up a new way of thinking. Now I saw opportunity everywhere. Thanks to Drucker, I began to see the diamonds right under my feet.
4. Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
This little book is the Bible for marketers. It should be required reading for anyone applying for a business license. The reason why so many businesses fail? They didn’t read this book. This is the essence of business competition and capitalism.
5. Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy
Just as The Power of Positive Thinking teaches you to make a habit of being optimistic, Brian Tracy teaches you to make a habit of goal setting. His methods combine discipline, planning and habit. The results are nothing short of magic. Read the reviews on this book!
The keys to success are inside. If you’re wondering how to empower your growth, how to give yourself the best chance of success in your work and personal life, read this book.
6. The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
This book is about balance. Achieving balance in your work life with your personal principles. I loved the holistic nature of his argument. It was the best explanation of the importance of principle-driven leadership that I had ever seen.
And Covey’s message opens up the door for me to talk about insights learned from psychology, history, literature, philosophy and social science that apply to work in business. Any career really. I think a leader thrives on this broad based education. It’s not always necessary for success, but I believe it helps make your success long term.
7. The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spenser Johnson
I found this little book to be a revelation. One minute goals. One minute praisings. One minute reprimands! What a frigging breakthrough! As I was working my way up the ladder, eons of time were wasted in meetings. Then boom, this brilliant book said, “just take your employees aside for a minute and tell them exactly what you need.” Stunning.
How many times did you call under-performing employees into your office to correct them and found yourself holding their hand an hour later still talking. Don’t do it! Read this book, up your productivity, and your team’s, and learn how to empower your people.
8. Commander in Chief: FDR, His Lieutenants and Their War by Eric Larrabeee
To say FDR is one of my heroes is an understatement. Imagine running for president after polio destroyed your legs. He not only believed he could lead the country out of The Depression, but he had to win a war in a world gone stark raving mad. Over 70 million people died in World War II.
This book does a great job showing his courage, brilliance and leadership skills. Not to mention the courage of human beings put into impossible situations: the men and women of our armed forces. Great insights and lessons for every leader and manager.
9. Forgiveness by Robin Casajian
My definition of “leadership book” is broad, as you can see. I include this book because it changed my life and it may help you too. If you are carrying heavy baggage, such as anger, grief, or shame from past wounds, do yourself a favor and forgive yourself and forgive the person that wounded you.
I know so many people hold themselves back because of such wounds. Or they carry their anger around like a cement boot designed by the mafia to drag you to the depths forever. That’s what anger does. Get some help. Heal the wounds. You will be a much better leader, parent, partner, friend.
10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
One of the best books on leadership ever, it will change your life. Before Clapton was god, Tolstoy was god. For good reason. If you read only one more novel in your life, make it War and Peace. I am a big believer in literature for business leaders.
You will thank me for recommending it I guarantee. You’ll get used to the Russian names in one day. Just skim over them if pronouncing them is difficult. Let yourself get into the story and follow these characters through Napolean’s attack on Russia. It offers you everything you’ve ever dreamed that art should do for you.
Follow some of the worst leadership decisions in history and their effects. Learn while enjoying the original mini-series with all the action, adventure, romance, heartbreak and history you could ask for. In the end, you walk away a more compassionate leader and human being.
What books have changed your life?